J Alfred Prufrock

Love, Lust or Lackluster Lifestyle?
“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” demonstrates the effects of social and economic
pressure in the life of a Victorian man. T.S. Eliot shows us, in an ironic monologue, how the
reality of age and social position paralyzes his character with fear. The poem opens with six lines
from Dante’s “Infernio”. This particular stanza explains that the speaker is in hell and the message
can only be told to someone else in hell. The speaker tells us that it is OK for the listener to hear
the message, since in order to hear you must already be in hell and no one ever returns from there.
So the message will never leave. I believe Eliot uses this message to infer ...

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death. I believe Prufrock yearns for the sense of belonging, both with a female and with his
society. He struggles with issues of sex, age and social change.
The beginning lines of the poem(1-25) paint for a very descriptive picture of the street
where Prufrock is walking. It also alerts the reader of Prufrock’s distaste for this area and this
society. He describes it as “have deserted”,”muttering”.”one-night cheap hotels” and “sawdust
restaurants”.(5-7) He contrasts that with his destination of a “room where women come and
go/Talking of Michelangelo”(13&14). Prufrock doesn’t give the reader much insight into his
thoughts until line 26. From this line forward, we get a glimpse of what it must be like to be
Prufrock. He tells us “There will be time, there will be time/ To prepare a face to meet the faces
that you meet”(27-28), indicating repression. He must “prepare” himself mentally to be able to
put on the correct social image before he makes his “visit”(12). The rest of ...

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the music from a farther room”(52-53), and realizes that he is at the end of his
time. I think he realizes that he is not a member of the modern society, nor am I sure he wants to
be. But he does feel that he is watched like a specimen “formulated, sprawling on a pin”(57). But
unlike a bug in a bug collection, he is still alive and tortured “wriggling on the wall”(58). He
realizes that his customs are a part of the past, but he is unable to see the way to move on. He
thinks perhaps he should “spit out the butt-ends of my days and ways”(60) but realizes he
wouldn’t know how to resume life in the new world “And how should I presume?”(61).

Prufrock goes back to his own way of ...

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J Alfred Prufrock. (2006, January 7). Retrieved November 27, 2021, from http://www.essayworld.com/essays/J-Alfred-Prufrock/39252
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Added: 1/7/2006 07:46:45 PM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1409
Pages: 6

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